Please welcome Catherine Doughty, author of Breast Cancer! You’re Kidding… right?, who is touring the blogosphere with Pump Up Your Book.

Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova (Luxury Reading)

In 2007, Catherine Doughty, author of Breast Cancer! You’re Kidding… right? was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, despite the separation from her husband, Catherine was leading a successful and happy life. She adored her two young children and had a fulfilling job in healthcare as a Director of of Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging.

After the initial shock of her diagnosis, Catherine rallied and decided to use her designation as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt – Six Sigma is a business management strategy used to address and eliminate the causes of defects – to approach the cancer in the same way she approached problems at work. Breast Cancer! You’re Kidding… right? is the result of that approach; Catherine’s goal was to not only share her experiences as a breast cancer patient, but to give other women a methodology for approaching their own treatment plans.

The focal point of the book is the Six Sigma technique that Catherine breaks down into a 5-step process: (1) Define the problem, (2) Measure the extent of the current situation, (3) Analyze for root cause, (4) Improve and implement a process plan effectively, and (5) Control the process to maintain the gain. She also includes worksheets (which can also be downloaded and printed from her website) for keeping track of the barrage of information and appointments.

I had breast cancer myself – I was diagnosed in April 2012 – and am still going through chemotherapy. I gravitate towards books about breast cancer because to me, knowledge is power and I want to learn as much as I can about this disease and others’ experience with it. I certainly appreciate Catherine’s willingness to share her own experience and sympathize with everything she has been through. That said, I found very little useful information in Breast Cancer! and cannot say I’d recommend it to others embarking on this unfortunate journey.

I thought the application of Six Sigma to breast cancer treatment was intriguing, but the information given was very scant and each step had at the most three small pages dedicated to it. The rest of this slim book (128 pages) was peppered with Catherine’s chatter about her surgeries, subsequent treatment, recovery process, marriage problems, and so on. I could tell that she was aiming at humor, but it never quite hit home with me. Between the somewhat juvenile writing, a character named “Cancer Cat” giving advice throughout the book, and the author baring her breasts to her neighbors, I was left cringing, and more bewildered than enlightened.

Maybe some recently diagnosed women will find some value in this book, but I just think there are too many better resources out there. The included worksheets would be useful during initial appointments, but the rest of Breast Cancer! is too much fluff and not enough substance.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Catherine Doughty. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.